While some people have lost their lives standing in the queue, the situation at the other end is also grave. Long working hours, continous dealings with cash, flared up anger of customers have given grief to bank cashiers, with many falling sick.
Bank employees too are putting extra hours to cater to the rush of people. A cash accountant of a nationalised bank in a branch from posh South Mumbai locality says, "In the new scheme of things, a cashier who is supposed to handle one customer at a time is now forced to handle multiple customers. Not only that he is also expected to look at cash withdrawals, exchange, deposits simultaneously. Stress levels have increased manifolds. The other day, a customer gave few bundles of old notes. They were so old, dusty and soiled that I broke into a sneezing fit while counting each meticulously. Despite having machines, we still have to double check to detect fake notes. If are not able to detect, we have to pay from my own pocket. Not only this but we are now working extra time which is affecting our health adversely but yet we come to work to serve customers.
Another cashier from the same bank but different branch said, "The queues are long and hence we have no option to delay our breakfast and lunch. Also long hours sitting on our chair has resulted in heavy backache and posture problems.
An assistant manager from a reputed bank said, “We keep hand sanitisers and face masks ready as a lot of customers bring old notes. I had respiratory problems because of old soiled notes."
The situation at private banks is no different. A young executive working at a private bank in western suburbs, said, "With each and every transactions we have to be more careful now and it's getting really difficult to serve both our existing clients as well as non existing. Many people have taken leave due to stress. One woman from our branch fainted because of low BP. It is so stressful for everyone else that we can't even dare ask for a leave. This is the time where we can look out for good business opportunity and for that we need time because of these new rules. All of a sudden, people are now realising that there are old accounts and money.
Vishwas Utagi, VP of All India Bank Employees Association, said, "We don't want to inconvenience people. So, we are working extra hours."
A 45-year-old senior cashier with State Bank of India died after he experienced chest pain at its Ratibad branch on November 14. Purshottam Vyas experienced chest pain and uneasiness little after 5 pm, following which he was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.
How stressful is a cashier's job?
When the cashier is given a wad of notes, first the cashier has to count the number of bundles, put in the counting machine and secure it with a rubber band. A flap of the respective bank has to be attached and sign and date stamp has to be affixed. These bundles which are kept by the clients for a long time, are pressed and ironed.
These bundles are kept in the counting machine to detect the fake ones. At the end of the day, it is again rechecked by the manager/officer signed and kept in the double lock. Every branch from every bank has got at least receipts of 1-2 crores daily which they have been doing the same job from November 11, 2016.
In the end the cashier has to tally the cash. If there is a shortage, then cashier has to replenish the same from their own pocket or action is taken against them by the bank.